Sunday Morning Coffee - November 29, 2009
Less Is MORE

Keeping Websites Simple

Last week on my daily business radio show, Insight on Business, I talked about theABC Blocks need to keep websites "simple".  It got a lot of feedback so I thought it best to share the information with those of you who don't listen.

The "thought starter" for this came from a mailing we received from Qwest Business.  The 16 page full color "magazine" called "Network" had a story by Bill Scanlon, "Simplicity - The New Competitive Advantage".  In it he writes, " will likely mean keeping that Web site home page simple - resisting the urge to clutter it up.  After all the goal is to make things clear and logical for the customers."

Then he quotes Bill Jensen of who says, "Google has spent its entire history preventing things from getting on that main page.  The complexities (of the site) are invisible."

Here is the payoff.  Last year 76.7 billion searches were conducted on Google and had the most significant growth among all of its competitors.  Now, go take a look at their home page.  Simple...

And that, according to Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Products and User Experience at Google, keeps people coming back.  And she adds an interesting personal line:  "A lot of times when I'm reviewing a new user interface, I will think to myself, 'What would my mom think if she looked at this?' because my mom is a great test case.  Smart but a little intimidated by technology."

So now...look at your home page.  Cluttered?  Vague?  Easy to read?  Do people know exactly what to do without having to spend time searching for direction?  What would "Mom" say?  (Without prompting.)

Some would say,  "Simplicity depends on 'what' you are selling.  Google sells information and the newspaper sells advertising and XYZ sells plumbing parts and ABC sells dog grooming supplies..."   And, that is the problem.  You see, Google gets it.  We are all "selling" information but we do not have to spill all of that information on the home page of our websites.

Thanks for reading.  You can reach us through our website, and keep up with us on Twitter- @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV and yep, we're also on Facebook.